Licorice is an herbaceous plant, scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra, that is native to parts of Asia and Europe. It has a distinct sweet flavor that has been used for centuries in a variety of foods, drinks and medicinal preparations. The active ingredient in licorice is glycyrrhizin, which is 30-50 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). This makes it a popular flavoring agent in candy and beverages throughout the world.
Licorice has a long history spanning thousands of years and it was used by both ancient Greeks and Romans. For example, Hippocrates reportedly prescribed licorice root to treat stomach ulcers! The Chinese were also big fans of licorice, believing it to have healing properties and using it to treat ailments such as coughs and sore throats.
Today, licorice remains popular around the world for its unique flavor profile and purported health benefits.